In a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, the American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) acknowledged the success of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Section 32 program purchase of lamb meat in its effort to help drive stronger live-lamb prices for American sheep producers.
"Deliveries of lamb meat for the Agricultural Marketing Service program began again in September and feeder and slaughter lamb prices at auction are up 47 percent since then to early November," said ASI President Clint Krebs. "This dramatic increase in prices pulled the lamb market to levels above the cost of production for farmers and ranchers for the first time in nearly a year."
"ASI is very much appreciative of the departments support to strengthen live lamb prices and that the lamb meat purchase was not only successful but very timely as more than a third of lambs move from the farm and ranch gate in the fall of the year," commented Peter Orwick, ASI executive director.
This summer's implementation of the increase in the lamb promotion assessment rate was also requested by ASI in a package deal that sought $5 million in federal meat purchases and additional sheep industry dollars to pull lamb prices up.
"The department support to do both requests was a great way to change the market conditions quickly and give the industry long-term funds to strengthen the market for farmers and ranchers," concluded Krebs.